Some years ago I attended in Chicago a meeting of the Catholic Press Association, a left-leaning organization. Card. George gave a splendid address on the vocation of a Catholic journalist.
His Eminence offered that the role of a Catholic journalist, among other things, was to report on the life of grace. He added that in order to recognize the life of grace in others the journalists had to be themselves in the state of grace.
It is therefore no surprise that the ultra-lefitist dissident National Catholic Reporter continues to publish rubbish that designed to undermine Catholic faith.
Here is a good example. The following prompted this brilliant response.
My emphases and comments.
‘With age, my Catholicism holds more uncertainty’
By Rose Murphy
December 26, 2008
My current, critical reading about religion and my growing disenchantment with the Catholic Church do not proceed without some pronounced unease. [Good. You should feel uneasy about this. You are closer to the end of your life than the beginning and you are allowing your feet to stray from the path Christ gave you to come to salvation.] I feel driven to question beliefs I once held with assured confidence. But am I needlessly cutting off a strong spiritual lifeline by going so rarely to my local church? Am I wallowing in intellectual smugness and neglecting an insistent Catholic tie that goes beyond logic?
It is difficult to stay loyal to a church whose members once unleashed cruel forms of the Inquisition [this old canard again?] on presumably evil non-believers and whose clergy so recently and secretly protected pedophilic priests. [Okay… the Inquisition was… how long ago?] But I am more disillusioned by dogmatic bans on birth control that afflict poor women in developing countries and that too often obscure the core message of Christ’s call for compassion. [Read: Unless the Church changes her teaching on contraception, the Church is cruel to women.]
Impossible now to recapture that ardent, unquestioning faith I had as a child, and into adulthood [I don’t think "questioning" is a problem, so long as the questioning comes from "faith seeking understanding".] : that Christ was physically present in communion, that I had a special guardian angel, that certain prayers chipped away at Purgatory time. Even after outgrowing those fantasies, [The Real Presence, angels, our connection with the Church Suffering are "fantasies".] I continued to keep a core faith in the larger Church tenets: that Jesus was the Son of God, that he died for my sins, that I was preparing for an afterlife where I would see God and presumably my parents and all those who had gone before me. Today all of that doctrine is hazy to me, not so much rejected as irrelevant. [So, she is not sure that Christ is God or that He died for our sins.] I know now that humans can never penetrate the idea of God; certainty is – and has always been — an illusion. [This is why we speak of faith.]
Intellectually, I can reject much of the Catholic Church, [Because she has a far more penetrating mind than, say, St. Augustine or St. Thomas….] but emotionally it reels me in whenever I wander from it. I am still nourished by certain Mass rituals: [which?] the Prayers of the Faithful (with touching reminders of so much pain among my neighbors), the Sign of Peace and the communal grasp of another hand, the preparations for Eucharist, [not, apparently, including the consecration] and the walk up the aisle to receive communion. Just what am I receiving? I know the act of communion matters to me, feeling the host on my tongue is significant, but I don’t know why. [This at the same time horizontal and completely self-absorbed.]
But slowly, I am becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. [And Satan has a greater and greater grip. This is the sort of creeping incrementalism that the Enemy uses to effect.] And I find that meeting the challenge of practicing compassion in this troubled world is much more difficult than showing up for Sunday Mass. More and more, I see Christ as a rebel, an advocate for the poor, an agitator, an outsider who spoke truth to power and paid the ultimate price for it. [Setting aside the empty buzz words, this is a great example of what Pope Benedict wrote to correct in his first encyclical Deus caritas est.]
His message focused on loving one another, without reservation, not on explaining the Trinity. And whether or not he is the Son of God seems a pointless discussion. [A "pointless discussion"? Lady… if Christ is not the Son of God, then you and everyone else are probably going to hell. Also, what circuit is missing from the brains of some lefties that keeps them from understanding that we can love one another and… AND… explain the Trinity? They are not mutually exclusive. This is not a zero sum game: either love or explain… you can’t do both. This so typical of most liberals: you can’t be smart, or intellectual or make distinctions or admit authority and still be nice.]
Such realizations still do not alleviate feelings of restlessness and guilt when I choose a bike ride and coffee on Sunday morning instead of Mass. [Good.] But on those Sundays when I do slip into church, I hear a foreign language all around me, especially when it comes to the Apostles Creed. I cannot dutifully mumble it any longer. I cannot relate to ecstatic utterances about a “personal relationship” with God, because for me such a relationship is impossible. [Though I wonder what sort of parish she is going to…] It smacks too much of a cozy, privileged connection with a physical being who sits among the fluffy clouds and notes all the details of my daily life. I can imagine a spiritual force at work in the universe, something that connects all life, humanity and nature, but I cannot personify it or give it the familial name of “Father” or “Son.” [Sooo… she is what… a Buddhist? A pantheist?]
But rather than reject a lifetime spiritual path, perhaps I need to get more comfortable with the idea of metaphor in Catholic doctrine and look beyond the literal pronouncements; [Because her mind is so subtle, she’ll create her own religion to suit her own needs.] then it becomes easier to see Christ as a symbolic son of God, as a presence that helps me find the divine spark (God) within myself, and more importantly serves as a model for truly compassionate living. [Because, after all, it’s all about her.]
Receiving the spiritual nourishment of communion then becomes a reminder of so many people who lack food or the means to acquire it. [sigh]
So can I continue to call myself a Catholic? [No. Not on these terms. But we hope and pray that you will come back to your Faith.] A friend once framed the dilemma in whimsical language: “I can no more stop being a Catholic than a Navajo could stop being a Navajo.” Ultimately, I think this struggle will always be with me, and that I will come to accept, and perhaps even embrace, a natural state of discomfort. Despite all the ambiguity, I would like to think I am still welcome at the communion table.
Rose Murphy is a writer based in Sonoma, California, who explores current events and also focuses on Irish culture and history.